Politics, Moderate



Shutdown showdown -- again

WASHINGTON -- As Donald Trump approaches the 100-day marker of his first year in office, he has defined himself not as the Dealmaker in Chief but as The Backdown President.

What a deliciously strange irony that until Monday night he set the stage for a government shutdown over, of all things, his campaign centerpiece -- The Wall.

Strange ...Read more

Donald Jong Un

WASHINGTON -- Foreign leaders and local interlocutors, aka pundits, might as well take a vacation for the next few minutes until Donald Trump’s next foreign policy “strategy” surfaces from deep within his amygdala.

For to presume a strategy when Trump toys with potentially lethal nations -- threatening to tear apart the nuclear agreement ...Read more

Murder While You Watch

WASHINGTON -- The Facebook video of a homicide was surely inevitable.

This isn’t the same as saying that video murders soon will become all the rage, but it was more likely to happen eventually than not.

Forget the suspected killer Steve Stephens, who took his own life Tuesday after a brief police pursuit. If not he, then someone else would ...Read more

Low-Rent for Big Bucks

WASHINGTON -- Despite recent revelations that Fox News and anchor Bill O’Reilly had settled five complaints of sexual harassment against him to the tune of millions -- his ratings went up.

A few days later, a United AirIines passenger was dragged from an airplane to make room for crew members on a full flight -- and United’s stock initially...Read more

The Obfuscation Game

WASHINGTON -- If there is one operative rule in this city’s left-right paradigm, it is to shift the focus of any conversation that seems at risk of revealing something approximating truth -- a game at which the current administration and its media surrogates happen to excel.

Thus, the focus early this week was on the “unmasking” of Trump ...Read more

A Tragic Hero Takes His Leave

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- People who experienced the phenomenon of Charles D. “Pug” Ravenel can’t have helped wondering what might have been -- if only he had won.

But Pug, who died last week, didn’t win. In his political career, he lost and lost -- and then lost some more. Which surprised everyone who knew him because Pug had always been ...Read more

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Hair

WASHINGTON -- Though Republicans profess to despise Big Government, especially the federal kind, it seems that what they really don’t like is Democracy -- and indeed prefer a monarchy.

Yes, yes, the czarina sighed, signaling her weariness with the palace historian’s inevitable scold. I know America is a Republic and not a pure ...Read more

Governing by Ultimatum

WASHINGTON -- In a week that felt like a month, Americans got a clear view of Donald Trump’s governing style and also of his fabled dealmaking approach.

Or rather, I should say, Trump got a good sense of what governing is like -- hard, hard, hard. And it’s bound to get more difficult given the president’s tactics of consent: Do as I ...Read more

Neil Gorsuch Steals the Week

WASHINGTON -- Watching the Senate confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, one might easily find oneself wishing he were president of the United States.

Alas, he’s not. But Gorsuch’s selection to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia is the sanest act committed by a president whose first 60 days have left him with an ...Read more

Death by a Thousand Cuts

WASHINGTON -- From Ronald Reagan’s “welfare queen” to Donald Trump’s “Detroit single mom,” the unmarried mother remains a constant fascination to Republicans wielding budget-cutting scalpels.

Whereas Reagan was propagating a stereotype of the fraudulent abuser of public largesse when he popularized the term in 1976, framing welfare ...Read more

Yelling Racist in a Crowded Nation

WASHINGTON -- “Culture and demographics are our destiny.” Stop.

But Iowa Rep. Steve King didn’t stop there. He continued to feed his foot deep into his gullet: “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”

Well, now. Let’s pause to parse.

First, one never speaks of “somebody else’s babies” except to ...Read more

Congress’ Grizzly Betrayal

WASHINGTON -- In its zeal to repeal, the U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to overturn a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule forbidding the baiting, trapping and “denning” of bears and wolves in Alaska’s national wildlife refuges.

The Senate is poised to consider the resolution as soon as next week.

Distilled to its essence, ...Read more

R.I.P., DNC?

JACKSONVILLE, Ala. -- If the Democratic Party is ailing after losing the presidency to Donald Trump, state parties are on life support.

Here in the long-ago Democratic stronghold of Alabama, the party is all but dead, say some of its disheartened members. Consider: Not a single statewide office is held by a Democrat; the state Legislature is ...Read more

Grading the President

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump, the human ruler, as in measuring stick, is at it again, this time grading his performance as president.

Appearing on Fox News recently, the president gave himself an A-plus for effort, an A for accomplishment, and a C for communication.

He does seem to be trying hard -- at whatever it is he’s doing -- though it’...Read more

Adjectively Speaking

WASHINGTON -- White House press secretary Sean Spicer might owe Melissa McCarthy a thank-you note.

The actress who mocked Spicer in her “Saturday Night Life” caricature of his angry, anti-media persona seems to have breathed new life into the man -- as only a woman could do?

To his credit, Spicer didn’t curl up in a fetal ball, as one ...Read more

Standing Athwart History Shouting, “Whatever, Baby!”

WASHINGTON -- Remember when conservatism meant deep thinkers and big ideas? Get over it.

Today, conservatism means get your Miley (Cyrus) on and show us your tongue, shout Trump to the rafters, if you can pony up the privilege of “free speech,” and young -- very young -- “love.”

Or so it would seem judging by this year’s lead-up to ...Read more

A Failure to Communicate

WASHINGTON -- To sum up President Trump’s first month in office, he has exceeded everyone’s expectations.

To those who opposed him, he’s worse than expected. To those who supported him, he’s done exactly what he said he would do and more.

And everyone hates the media.

Regarding the observation that the media took Trump literally but ...Read more

Meet Rick. Meet the football. Hike!

WASHINGTON -- By now a few million Americans have met “Rick,” the aide-de-camp who carries the nuclear “football” for President Trump, and Richard DeAgazio, a Mar-a-Lago club member who posted a selfie of the two on his Facebook page.

The entire Saturday evening in Palm Beach, where Trump hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the...Read more

Count Gorsuch

WASHINGTON -- To review the left’s reaction to Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is to infer he’s the spawn of Dracula -- a cruel and bloodless beast who shrinks from the light and plays havoc with history.

Among the many distortions: Gorsuch is against clean water, consumers, women’s health, dying people and workers. The liberal ...Read more

Driving us to Distraction

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump seems to think he’s still on his reality TV show shouting, “You’re fired!” while President Stephen Bannon is busy drafting executive orders with his favorite black crayon.

Such is the surreal universe in which we find ourselves. Those who thought they were electing Trump to the presidency likely have never ...Read more

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